So this Houston housewife gets a rock from a Tibetan healer and sticks it in a closet, and it starts talking to her - the rock, not the closet - and she doesn't know what to do, but eventually she decides to share its mystical powers with humanity, which is why Tom Kiefaber had the drum session of his life a few weeks back and why the Senator Theatre owner scored a real-deal crystal skull for his theater lobby this weekend, when he screens Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Sku ll.
I'm trying to keep this short, partly because the editors tell me to write short, but mostly because the "short" version from JoAnn Parks took an hour, and she's very pleasant and earnest and all, but that was a full 60 minutes on a skull-shaped rock, albeit a rock that claims - it talks to Parks, remember - to be an ancient Mayan artifact that holds the key to personal enlightenment and world peace.
Anybody who wants to know more can Google "Max the Texas Crystal Skull." Or catch Parks next time she takes her show on the road. She and Max travel the world, staying with New Age-y hosts and delivering 90-minute lectures to anyone who ponies up $25. For $50, you can get 30 minutes alone with the rock.
Kiefaber opted for some private time with Max about six weeks ago, when Parks and her skull made a visit to the Upperco home of Jayne Feldman, interfaith minister and author of several books on angels, and her retired IBM engineer hubby, Charles.
Kiefaber invited Parks to display Max at the Senator, tonight through Sunday afternoon. It will be their only appearance at a theater showing the skull-themed blockbuster. A publicity coup for the theater owner, but is it more than that?
When he met Max, Kiefaber brought along his African Djembe drums.
"I played my drums, and it was kind of dramatic," he said. "Some rhythms were coming out that I've never played before - or since, by the way."
So is he a believer?
"I try to be open-minded about these things. I was a philosophy major. I thought it was going to be this sort of heavy spiritual thing. It wasn't. But it was the coolest thing I've ever done."
OK, so what reflection do you think you'd see?
All the usual "whereases" and "therefores" will be in place, but it will be one unusual mayoral proclamation.
Mayor Sheila Dixon will declare tomorrow "JoAnn Parks and Max the Crystal Skull Day" in Baltimore.
As in: "Whereas JoAnn Parks has said 'that when people look at Max they see a reflection of themselves and are able to better express themselves by tuning into their individual spirit.'"
City Councilman Bill Henry sought the proclamation at Kiefaber's request. "The mayor's office was game," Dixon spokesman Sterling Clifford said.
I think they should make it an annual thing. One more wacky date for the Public Works calendar.
Don't know him, haven't talked to him
If there were corporate sponsors when Star Jones and Al Reynolds got hitched, why not as they split?
The Young, Black & Fabulous, a celebrity Web site, reported the other day that Under Armour had hired Reynolds, soon-to-be-ex of the ex-View host, as a model.
"Al Reynolds will endorse their 30+ clothing line this summer," the site said. "The Baltimore, Maryland sports wear manufacturer has said that Reynolds ads will appear beginning in July. Reynolds will become the company's first non sports star to endorse a line."
But what about Reynolds' less-than-macho image? "What straight man in his right mind would dress like this?" the blog Pretty Boring opined last year, when Reynolds appeared at his birthday party in white tux jacket, shorts and knee socks.
Is that why Under Armour stock took a dive this week?
I e-mailed company spokesman Tai Foster about the report. He immediately e-mailed back to say it was not true. He also phoned within minutes to make sure I got the e-mail.
"There is no relationship whatsoever between the brand and Al Reynolds," he said. "That is not the image that the brand is pursuing."
Well, he's a hardworking guy - and he's very well-paid
From The Jerusalem Post: "On Wednesday, visiting Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley displayed something most Israelis lack - an admiration for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"'I have always found him to be a very forward-looking, hard-working leader who understands the importance of a government that actually functions and works to protect the security of its people,' O'Malley, a former mayor of Baltimore, told The Jerusalem Post. ... He met with Olmert in his Jerusalem office two hours after Labor Party chairman Ehud Barak threatened early elections and a day after U.S philanthropist Morris Talansky testified that he had given Olmert $150,000 in cash.
"In their 30-minute conversation the two leaders spoke about everything but the corruption probe and Olmert's shaky government."